Bothasig man hopes to build theatre with poetry

Table View songwriter Emihle Danyeni’s poem, Can You See Me, appears in the Kaapstad anthology.

At least 15 young adults from all over Cape Town have collaborated on Kaapstad, an anthology of poems in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.

The main contributor, Aphiwe Magida, 24, from Bothasig, hopes to build a shack theatre in the northern suburbs with the funds raised from sales of the book.

Nkuthalo Media, a Strand-based publishing company compiled the book.

Mr Magida says the book is a project of Back 2 School, an organisation he started in 2019 to educate artists about the commercial side of art. He plans to register Back 2 School as a non-profit later this year.

Poets featured in this book will get 30% of the profits from the sale of each book, says Mr Magida.

He put out a call last year to young people in the province to submit poems about their communities and the challenges they face. Some of the poems deal with gender violence and growing up with a single parent.

“Poetry is a way of expressing oneself and I felt it was important for the writers to express how they felt in their own languages,” says Mr Magida.

He got a R2000 donation from Hear My Voice, a Johannesburg-based organisation, after he signed up for one of their online classes and told them about his plans to publish the book.

Mr Magida says various writers and editors helped to proofread the content, agreeing to split the R2000 donation.

Hear My Voice founder Ishmael Sibiya says Mr Magida was part of a relief-fund-for-poets project that provided funding to those who join their performing arts classes. Mr Magida was asked to submit poems he had written over the years.

Mr Magida says that if 100 people buy the book, there will be enough money to buy some materials for the shack theatre.

Table View songwriter Emihle Danyeni’s poem, Can You Still See Me, is in the book. It is about asking God for direction and purpose.

The 23-year-old says the poem came to her in the dream, and she hopes to inspire young people like herself.

Ms Danyeni says she was 14 when she wrote her first poem: it was about losing her grandmother.

“Many people who I read the poem to were impressed with my work,” she says.

“When I am feeling happy or sad, I write down how I am feeling, and I find that many can relate.”

She says she likes the idea of contributing to building a shack theatre, where other artists can share their work, and she encourages others to get in touch with their creative side.

The book sells for R150. Call Mr Magida at 063 526 1919 if you want to buy a copy.